late 14c., "long slender woody stem," from Old French cane "reed, cane, spear" (13c., Modern French canne), from Latin canna "reed, cane," from Greek kanna, perhaps from Babylonian-Assyrian qanu "tube, reed" (compare Hebrew qaneh, Arabic qanah "reed"), which may come from Sumerian-Akkadian gin "reed." Sense of "length of cane used as a walking stick" is from 1580s.
"to beat or flog with a walking stick," 1660s, from cane (n.). Related: Caned; caning.
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